by Jeff Woods
"It is an outrage that in a year thus far defined by gun violence-from massacres, to the murder of police, to hate crimes-the U.S. Senate is preparing to consider an amendment that would dramatically weaken federal and state gun laws. The practical effect of the amendment would be to reduce concealed carry permit regulations to the lowest common denominator. Currently, many states have weak laws and issue residents permits after only a simple computerized background check."The study also sheds light on the motivation of the gun lobby in promoting concealed handgun laws. Defending Second Amendment rights apparently isn't exactly priority No. 1.
Shall-issue concealed handgun laws were originally promoted by the gun lobby and gun industry to jumpstart sagging handgun sales by creating a new market for smaller, more powerful handguns. As then-National Rifle Association lobbying chief Tanya Metaksa told The Wall Street Journal in a September 1996 article headlined "Tinier, Deadlier Pocket Pistols Are in Vogue": "The gun industry should send me a basket of fruit--our efforts have created a new market." Yet in its public arguments the gun lobby neglected to mention its own financial interests, instead promising state legislators and the public that handgun carriers armed by the new law would have a beneficent penumbra effect: aiding police by stopping crimes and protecting the citizenry. And for those who questioned the wisdom of putting guns into these citizens' hands and then sending them off into the general public, the NRA's Metaksa had a ready answer. At an April 18, 1996, press conference in Dallas, Texas, Metaksa asserted: "As we get more information about right-to-carry, our point is made again and again....People who get permits in states which have fair right-to-carry laws are law-abiding, upstanding community leaders who merely seek to exercise their right to self-defense." Since the first "shall issue" law was passed in Florida in 1987, similar measures have spread across the country: today 48 states have some form of concealed carry law.